Archive for October, 2020

Pete Souza’s Images of the Obama Years!

Posted in Obamas The Way Pete Sousa Saw Them, On Domestic Terrorism with tags , on October 18, 2020 by playthell

The Time of Her Life! A 106 Year Old Senior Dances With the First Lady

Photography as a Cultural Document and Political Weapon

From the moment the great Afro-American Abolitionist activist orator/writer Frederick Douglass saw the new art of photography, introduced to America by the black New Orleans photographer Jules Lion, who had worked with it’s inventor in Paris, Douglass recognized it’s potential as a powerful weapon to fight the racist images of black Americans propagated by white Americans in drawings, dolls and the developing black face minstrel show. We were provided a powerful example of Douglass’ vision in action in the marvelous television  special featuring selected images from the almost two million photographs of the Obamas, shot by the official White House photographer.

If you missed “The Way I See It,”  an hour- long documentary on MSNBC featuring the photographs and commentary of Pete Souza, the White House photographer for the entire eight years of the Obama Administration, you slept on a great cultural event.  Many of the photographs that we all loved – like the fist bump with the Hispanic cleaner in the White House, and the little 5 year old black boy who wanted to rub President Obama’s head, to see if Obama’s hair was the same as his – and all those magical love scenes between Barack and Michelle…REAL LOVE, not that staged fake BS between Don that Con and Melania Mannequin – were shot by Pete Souza.

Real Love!

The Kinda Love that You feel…..

****When you feel what you never felt before!

As a lover of photography, and having shot a few thousand pictures, I was especially moved by Mr. Souza’s work because his approach to photography is the same as mine. I am not a big fan of posed pictures – although it is an art and some great artists have produced stunning works. But when I had my exhibition “The Elegance of Afro-Americans,”* I sought to capture our folks just going bout their business lookin good the way we do it!

Pete Souza’s work is guided by this approach to his job as White House photographer. And what he produced is a treasure trove of marvelous images. Which standing alone testifies to President Obama’s generosity of spirit, his sense of humor, his love and concern for the American people. Mr. Souza also produced poignant images that captured President Obama’s devotion to his children…and his profound love for ALL children.

Hangin with da Boyz

Happy and Nappy

Black Like Me?
Barack Loves the Babies!

Truth be Told….He’s a Baby Whisperer….Cause they Can Sense it

He also shows how the Obama girls Melia and Sasha, received the best of parenting; how they were molded and polished like black diamonds by  two fabulous black women: His wife and her wise mother under whose guidance cultivated Michelle into the  formidable woman she is.

 Obama and His Ladies: Michelle, Sasha and Melia

America’s Black, Brown and Beige First Family

Watching their family life as it unfolded, not staged scenes for the publicity mill like the photographs we see from the Trump White House, we recognize how much the nation has lost, our moral decline, now that the Obama’s have been replaced by a mobbed up real estate flim flam man from the Big Apple and his Euro-trash wife.

A college dropout, and soft porn model who lied about having a college degree in “architectural design,” Melania is so stupid she actually read Michelle Obama’s speech verbatim claiming it was her own.  Alas,  while Michelle was a successful Harvard trained corporate lawyer, who once mentored Barack in the law, the Mannequin’s greatest accomplishment is hooking the trick of a lifetime and accidently becoming America’s First Lady….with critical Russian help.  The disastrous fall from highly accomplished, Ivy League educated, meritocrats, to white trash with money in the White House, is poignantly portrayed in the photographic record of Pete Sousa.  The photos speak for themselves.

The Portrait of Barack Obama in his official role as Chief Executive of the USA, is compelling.  We are provided a bird’s eye view of the inner workings of the Obama Administration at critical moments in the history of the United States.  Here Mr. Souza’s voice over commentary adds powerful perspective to the visual images he created.  We are there in the situation room when the Islamic Jihadist leader Osama Bin Laden – master mind of the 9/11 terrorist attack – was taken out.  We watch President Obama save the American auto industry from collapse, in his efforts to salvage the economy from the mess the Republicans made under George Bush, and we witness the trial and tribulations of the ordeal mirrored in his face and body language.  But we also witness the joy and jubilation President Obama and his Democratic colleagues experience when thy achieved major victories like the passage of the Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare.”

Commanding the Daring Take Down of Osama Bin Ladin

Jubilation!

Applauding the Brilliance of Speaker Pelosi in Passing Obamacare

Then there are the lighter moments that tell us so much about the character of President Obama and his First lady.  Like the time during the Second Inauguration ceremony when Souza asked Barack if he could join he and Michelle in the presidential limousine, and he said no, because they were planning on “making out” in the back seat during the procession down the boulevard!   And the time he was playing a one on one mano a mano game of basketball with his assistant Reggie Love.

Posterizing Reggie!!!

Barack Replaced the Bowling Alley with A B-Ball Court
The President Confronts the King on His Court

Souza pointed out that although Barack failed to make the starting five on his High-school basket-ball squad in Hawaii, and was six inches shorter that the former star of the formidable Duke University varsity basketball team, Barack, whom we see had mad hops from other shots of  him in action on the court, blocked Reggie’s shot!   And Souza says President Obama asked if he had captured the block and insisted that he blow the photograph up to poster size and hang it on the White house Wall.  He says Barack was the most competitive player he had seen.

Interestingly enough, it was Barack’s basketball game that won over her father and brother.  Her father had always counselled her brother that if you want to take the measure of a man’s character get him on the basketball court. A view that no doubt flowed from the glorious Basketball tradition of Black Chicago.  And as a Princeton basketball star, and Division I basketball coach, he had quite an insight into what a player’s game said about their character.  Amazingly, what he saw in Barack on the Basketball court, and reported to Michelle,  turned out to be a reliable indicator of the way he behaved as husband and father. And how he acted as President.

The fact that Pete Souza became fonder of Barack the more he saw of him – and having total unfettered access he saw a lot – tells us volumes about the kind of man President Obama was.  For there is more than a little truth in the old adage: “No man is a hero to his butler!”  Well, Souza had  more access to the President than any British Butler ever had to the princes and powers that ruled Great Britain.  And yet his admiration grew into genuine affection.   Indeed,  Souza has published two books of his photographs, one of which is titled “Shade,” where he adds captions to his photographs candidly showing the contrast between President Obama and Dirty Donnie Dimwit – as man and politician.

Souza shows that Barack is one of the very few men who can walk as an equal with kings; yet retain the common touch.  This is demonstrated over and again in word and images from almost two million photographs, the way Souza sees it in this graphic gift to the world, this generous spiritual benefaction, that will never stop giving. Future historians will find this a pearl of inestimable value, which delights Pete Souza, who rightly considers his work “a first draft of history.”

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Playthell G. Benjamin
 Harlem, New York
 October 17, 2020

 How Souza Saw it Through His Camera Lens

My Favorite Things…

Obviously, with two million photographs to choose from, all of them with a special beauty, one is overwhelmed by the embarrassment of riches.  Hence selecting among them must be viewed as nothing more than the reflection of one’s biases, a reflection of personal.  And has been often noted: “There is no accounting for personal taste.”  It is, alas, what it is.   So, here are a few of my favorite things.  If you click on the link below you can hear the great John Coltrane – whose music Barack, like myself, adores – playing “My Favorite Things” as you view the pictures.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWG2dsXV5HI

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A Black and Tan Fantasy!

The Sound Portrait Maestro Ellington Had in Mind 
Daddy’s Girl

She Will Always Hold Men to High Standards
Ole!  Dancing the Tango with Panache

Doopus Donnie Dimwit can’t Groove Like This!
Smooching With his Boo

I Only Have Eyes For You

A Sunday Kinda Love

The Kind that Lasts Past Saturday Night
You Can Always Tell the Good Guys

Cause They Love to Play with Babies*****
******And Pets

They Are Embraced By the Righteous

Paying Homage to John Lewis: An An Elder on Whose Shoulders he Stands
And Chill With Holy Men

The Pope’s Pronouncements are Revered as Dogma by Millions
Good Guys See People as Just People

A Real Man of Faith: All Are Equal in the Eyes of God
Good Guys are Always Trying to Improve….

The Man in the Mirror….

And Maintain their Cool
Even If They Are the most Powerful Man in the World!

Pete Souza Saw it All

Bearing witness With His Cameras

His Poignant Images A Benefaction to Our Posterity

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A WITCH WITH A WINSOME SMILE?

Posted in 1968 Columbia Student Strike, Amy Barrett's Supreme Court Hearing with tags , , on October 16, 2020 by playthell

A Smiling Assassin?

Notes on A Dangerous, Duplicitous, Dame

Despite her innocent smile and pious religious posture, Judge Amy Coney Barrett demonstrated consummate skill employing legal jargon to avoid fundamental questions regarding constitutional restrictions on presidential power. Most shocking was her refusal to give a straight answer to the simple question: “Can the President unilaterally change the date of the presidential election”

Although it is clearly stated in the Constitution that Congress alone is empowered to set the date, and it has been clearly established on a specific date, every four years, Judge Barrett was unsure! She said she could not answer the question without having the case come before her and consulting with her clerks and colleagues. DUH? I can answer that question, or any literate person, by just reading the Constitution.

Yet this learned legal scholar and sitting Federal Judge must consult others in order to arrive at the conclusion that the President has no power to postpone an election. Interestingly, Bill Barr – that lying fat face fraud who has disgraced the Department of Justice doing Devious Donnie’s dirty deeds – was equally vague when questioned on this issue by a congressional committee.

Barr said he had never given the matter any thought and could not answer the question without studying the matter. The fact that Barr and Amy were also wishy washy on the question of the peaceful transfer of presidential following an election, a procedure that is also clearly spelled out in the Constitution is real cause for worry.

While we have been fairly inundated with evidence of Judge Barret’s accomplishment’s as a law professor at Notre Dame, the iconic Jesuit university where she was trained that is best known for its football team, and the fact that she has written 100 legal opinions during her tenure on the federal bench, she was MUM on her views on a variety of issues that are fundamental to the life chances of Americans, and the health of our constitutional democracy such as whether the President can pardon himself for past and future crimes. She was as secretive as a dope dealer!

Although Trump has stated on numerous occasions what he expects from the Judges he appoints, and it has been reported with bold headlines in newspapers and with much fanfare on television, Amy says she never heard any of it! Hence it is fair to say that is we take the Judge at her word, and she is under oath, she is a space cadet who is oblivious to current events. Otherwise, she has lied to the Senate under after swearing to tell the truth!  In which case she has committed a felony!

The history of the Supreme Court affords numerous examples of Justices who ruled against the positions of the Presidents who appointed them, but this woman was vetted by the Federalist Society. And Senator Whitehouse did a great job of exposing the hornet’s nest of invisible donors and far right organizations who investigate and select candidates to the Supreme Court with great certainty of where they stand on critical issues. Senator Whitehouse also showed that the Judges they select have an amazing record of voting the way they are expected to once installed on the High Court. He went on to show how Amy Coney Barrett is a product of this selection process.  And her explanation to Senator Cory Booker’s question as to  why she voted against an Afro-American plaintiff who claimed he was a victim of a “hostile work environment,” although his work supervisor called him “a nigger” was the essence of lawyerly double talk.

Hence, I don’t trust her. I think she is a witch with a winsome smile, a devil with an angel face.  She will be confirmed. The Republican leaders of the Senate such as majority leader Mad Mitch McConnell, and Judiciary Committee Chairman Lying Lindsay Graham has already declared victory. They are rushing her through the confirmation despite the pious palaver they spouted about not confirming Supreme Court Justices in an election year!

This is the reason these charlatans gave when they rejected outright President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Merritt Garland, and his black female appointee Mira Selby to the Federal bench; a seat now held by Amy Barrett, whom Trump later appointed! Amy is their girl and I have little doubt that she will do their bidding, for the next 30 years or more.

This is brazen Court packing, and the Democrats should expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court to nullify their treachery! That’s why all who oppose Dirty Donald and his far- right backers must turn out and vote to send these rascals home!

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Playthell Benjamin
Harlem, New York
October 16, 2020

Witness Senator Booker Interrogate Judge Barrett

On Republican Hypocrisy

Posted in Amy Barrett's Supreme Court Hearing with tags , , , on October 15, 2020 by playthell

Devil or Angel?

 The Travesty of Amy Barrett’s Supreme Court Nomination

The confirmation hearings for Justice Amy Barrett is an act of treachery, conceived in malice and conducted with shameless duplicity. For the people now pushing this nomination are the very same people who blocked the nominee of President Barack Obama, Judge Merritt Garland, on the grounds that no nominee should be confirmed to the Supreme Court during an election year, although the nomination was made months before the election. They said that decision, who shall be elevated to the High Court, ought to be left up to the American people in the President they elect.

Now, these radical right-wing Republicans are frantically pushing Barrett’s confirmation after voting for the next president has actually begun. And when reminded of their pious pronouncements about the right of the people to decide this critical question regarding the composition of the Court, they play past the question and continue undaunted in their duplicitous actions.

Unable to present a credible defense of their transparent treachery, the Repubs inundated the public with silly sophistry that is an insult to any thinking American. Anyone who is not down with this dirty deal, or handicapped by the epidemic of ignorance sweeping the nation – a plague more dangerous than the Corona Virus – cannot fail to feel offended by these lying, amoral, shameless, charlatans that insists on pushing this nomination through.  For intelligent young people, from Jr. High-school on, the Republican duplicity provides ample reason to grow cynical about politics; to denounce it, as I have heard some young Americans do, as a hopelessly corrupt process that no self-respecting moral person should get involved in.

Senator Hirono Grills the Judge

Pressing Her Questions with Dogged Persistence

The Democrats in the Senate were magnificent in their unmasking of the Republican masquerade. They are speaking to the real issues that matter to the health and welfare of the American people. They have exposed the retrograde political objectives that Republicans have failed to achieve through politics, and now seek to achieve through a right-wing Supreme Court. And they make it clear that this is the true reason for this confirmation hearing.

Republicans on the judiciary Committee, and their colleagues throughout the Senate, are disgracing themselves and alienating the nation’s youth from their government. But they don’t give a shit, so long as their mission to pack the Federal Judiciary with right-wing judges who will not only arrest the progress women, non-white minorities, labor unions, gay people, et al – “the protected classes” – have made over the last half century. They brazenly select Judges they believe will overturn abortion rights, make it harder for poor and non-white people to vote, and take away health care from 20 million Americans!

WATCH THESE HEARINGS! If you can’t watch in real time watch it later on You Tube. Among other things, the Republican blather will vividly demonstrate what the Princeton philosopher Harry G. Franks so brilliantly described in his book: .”BULLSHIT!”  I will have A LOT more to say about what it will mean for the life chances of black folks, and the priorities of progressive forces in our country. I will offer my speculations on what it will mean for us if Judge Barrett becomes Justice Barrett.

I am unimpressed by all the hoopla about Amy’s academic performance. It is irrelevant when it comes to what she believes about the role and rule of law. Judge Barrett has said that the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a right-wing crank, was the greatest influence on her judicial philosophy. Alas, this fuzzy headed racist thought legal protections against racial discrimination in voting was a misguided “racial entitlement – a belief that is at the root of the massive efforts at suppression of the black vote in the coming election.  At first glance she strikes me as a pious, politically backward, religious fanatic with the instincts of a brood mare. Not someone who has the judicial perspectives that will incline them to vote in the affirmative on the issues progressives care about – this writer first among them.

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
October 15, 2020

Witness Senator Hirono in Action

WITNESSING THE WRATH OF GOD?

Posted in On Donald Trump with tags , on October 8, 2020 by playthell

The Flim Flam Man Making his Game

SURE LOOKS LIKE IT!

As Dirty Donald stood on the balcony of the White House, his skin a cadaverous pallor, struggling for breath like a fish out of water, looking as if he might topple over any moment while arrogantly proclaiming his victory over the Corona virus,  any religious person steeped in the Judeo-Christian tradition must recognize the striking similarities between our present plight and the biblical plagues and disasters God wreaked on nations that refused to heed his commandments.

One thinks of the pestilence and plagues visited upon the ancient Egyptians because of Pharaoh’s arrogance when told by Moses to end his evil ways and he scoffed at him.  Old Pharoah refused to heed his warnings even after Moses turned the rivers of Egypt to blood!

As we receive the news of yet another top Republican stricken with the Virus, especially those closest to Dirty Donnie, it is hard not to conclude that we are witnessing the wrath of God if one is a believer.  Don tha Con was repeatedly warned by medical scientists to heed their advice and follow their guidelines as to how the Corona Virus could be contained.

Alas, he refused and, as usual, like a bull in a China shop Dirty Donnie Dimwit went his own way, running amuck and causing untold damage to the public health, including over 200 thousand deaths of American citizens.  It testifies to the truth of former Republican strategist Rick Wilson’s book title: “Everything Trump Touches Dies!”

As for those who are lined up, anxious to forgive this wretch for his myriad transgressions, I am reminded by the Reverend Susanne Sharon, a learned Anglican priest from Canada, that the Christian concept of forgiveness is premised upon the sinner confessing his sins and begging forgiveness from those he has offended.  Dirty Donald declared that he has never asked God to forgive him for anything.  So, you know how he feels about asking our forgiveness!  Hence the wicked wretch is unworthy.  While I confess to being no biblical scholar, I do believe that somewhere among its proscriptions and admonitions the Good Book warns against “casting pearls to swine.”

The first breach in the solid support of Evangelicals for Dirty Donald was expressed in an editorial by the Editor of Christianity Today, a leading journal, that was scathing in its criticism of the Evangelical passionate embrace of the amoral flim flam man from the Big Apple.  Increasingly,  members of the Evangelical community  are deserting the movement because of their church’s embrace of this ungodly charlatan, elevating him to the status of an instrument of God because of his hypocritical pandering to their leaders.

In the eyes of the dissidents this amounts to a classic Faustian Bargain, a deal with the Devil!   And young people, who are witnessing the insane clown in the White house endanger their lives by his reckless incompetence in leading the fight against the Covid plague; while imperiling the  future of our planet by ignoring dramatic scientific evidence of climate change in the increasing incidence of destructive storms on the East coast, and raging wild fires out west, along with myriad other sins and crazy tweets, are leaving their churches en masse.

Listen to the testimony of the Reverend Rob Schenck, himself a former militant evangelical activist, speak to the crisis of faith their embrace of Trump has created among Evangelicals. As you will see in this video, Schenck was a Gung Ho soldier in the Evangelical movement. But now he has rejected the movement and heads a non-profit Christian educational group named in honor of the German pastor/theologian, Diedrick Baumhofer, one of the most outstanding clergymen of the twentieth century.

Baumhofer learned of the evils of racism from his association with Afro-Americans while attending Union Theological seminary in New York City.  He became a member of Harlem’s famous Abyssinia Baptist Church, even teaching Sunday classes, where he says he discovered how God was meant to be worshipped. And upon returning to Germany Dr. Baumhofer fearlessly opposed Hitler, and died in a Nazi concentration camp because of his outspoken witness against their evil.   This is the legacy Reverend Schenck has referenced in his opposition to Dirty Donald.  CHECK HIM OUT!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOBhHs_1n_I&t=346s

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
October 7, 2020I

 

 

Ye Shall Reap What Ye Sow…Sayeth The Lord

Posted in On Donald Trump with tags , on October 8, 2020 by playthell

The Insane Clown President Holding a Super Spreader Rally

Mother Nature Chastises a Malignant Narcissist

On the picture above Trump is holding a recent mass rally without a mask, and if you look closely at the audience you will see that many of them are not wearing masks. Even after the prominent black Republican Herman Caine died from Covid-19 after attending a Trump rally in Oklahoma without a mask, Dangerous Donnie Dimwit continued to hold mass rallies where wearing a mask is optional. Yet, any thoughtful observer must ask: What made Trump think that although millions of Americans had become infected, he was somehow invulnerable?

Seventy thousand Psychiatrists and psychologists have signed a diagnosis that The Donald suffers from “Malignant Narcissism and paranoia.” One of the major symptoms of this mental malady is that it inflicts the patient with a chronic case of hubris: “YOU CAN’T TOUCH THIS!” But then….. there is the sobering aphorism: “HUBRIS GOETH BEFORE THE FALL!”

Trump’s attitude – his flagrant disregard for the scientist who warned him against the folly of his ways, flaunting of the public health experts recommendation that we all wear masks when interacting with others, and his relentless taunting of Joe Biden for wearing a mask- has led untold numbers of people to an early grave. The stories abound, For instance the young lady who spoke at the Democratic Convention and told the world how her father – a robust, active and happy man – followed Trump’s example, spurned the mask, and Covid killed him! She blamed Donnie Dimwit for his death.

There is no telling how many thousands of deaths have been caused by Trump’s folly. He tempted the grim reaper and his mishandling of the Virus has resulted in the US having the highest death rate from Covid-19 in the world…BY FAR! A recent international study of sources  of misinformation about the Corona Virus pandemic found that the President of the United States is number1, accounting for 36% of the world total! Now he has been infected. Seems like poetic justice to me.  As the poet said :”The arc of the Universe is wide, but it bends toward JUSTICE”

Since I am not a man of the cloth, I am not about the business of saving sinners. Hence Dangerous Don tha Con will have to look elsewhere for forgiveness. The silver lining in this debacle, this self-inflicted catastrophe, is that perhaps Trump’s infection will finally wake up the Trumpanzees to the fact that Dangerous Donald is NOT Superman, he is NOT smarter than the scientist, and if they emulate his reckless behavior they too can become infected!The most despicable thing about Devious Donald’s mishandling of this Covid-Plague is that he KNEW early on just how deadly and contagious this virus is. We know this because the great journalist Bob Woodward has him on tape saying so! And that tape has been widely played in the media. Hence it is fair to say that Donnie Dimwit is a victim of his own foolish folly.

The lord only knows how many people have been infected from his rallies, which the scientists call: SUPER SPREADERS! He continued to hold them despite persistent warnings from medical scientists. Perhaps now we will no longer suffer the fools in MAGA caps running around ridiculing and intimidating people for WEARING MASKS. Now Trump will suffer from the infliction to which his criminal  has subjected so many innocent people alas. All his life, Trump has scoffed at the laws of man with impunity, but there is one law he cannot break and walk away unscathed: THE LAW OF MOTHER NATURE!

As the US Civil War dragged on, bleeding the nation of precious  blood and treasure, Abraham Lincoln’s  advisors tried to talk him into ending the terrible carnage by accepting a truce with the south, in which they could retain their slave property in exchange for peace. But Lincoln had come to believe that that the horrors inflicted upon Americans in the Civil War was God’s punishment of white America for the sin of slavery!  And he told his advisors:” The judgement of the Lord is right and just in ALL things.”

Now, all those millions of distraught Evangelical Christians, who have formed an unholy alliance with a godless heathen who wallows in sin the way a hog loves slop, must remember that he Lord hath warned us: “YE SHALL REAP WHAT YOU SOW.”  And I say to demented infected Donald: It is what it is alas!

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Playthell G, Benjamin
Harlem, New York
October 7, 2020